Home UncategorizedEntertainment Best Physical Media of May: A Rediscovered Ziad Rahbani Classic, Islamic Design Masterpiece, and Dune in Stunning 4K

Best Physical Media of May: A Rediscovered Ziad Rahbani Classic, Islamic Design Masterpiece, and Dune in Stunning 4K

This month offers an exciting array of physical media releases. Our top picks include a classic Talking Heads concert film and a captivating collection of Malay-Arabic music from the 1960s.

by Soofiya

May has been a month of exceptional releases for physical media aficionados, with offerings that span music, art, and cinema. Here, we highlight three standout releases that deserve a place in any collection: the rediscovered works of Lebanese musical legend Ziad Rahbani, an exquisite book on Islamic design, and the 4K ultra HD release of the sci-fi epic Dune.

1. Ziad Rahbani’s Rediscovered Classic

Lebanese composer, playwright, and musician Ziad Rahbani has been a towering figure in Middle Eastern music and theatre. His work is celebrated for its fusion of traditional Arabic music with modern styles, and its sharp socio-political commentary. This May, a long-lost recording of one of his early works has been unearthed and meticulously restored, offering a fresh yet nostalgic auditory experience.

The album, which had been buried in the archives for decades, features Rahbani’s signature blend of jazz, funk, and classical Arabic music. The restoration process has breathed new life into the recordings, enhancing the sound quality while preserving the authenticity of the original performances. This release is a treasure for long-time fans and new listeners alike, capturing the essence of Rahbani’s genius and the vibrant cultural milieu of 1970s Beirut.

Across the Middle East and beyond, the Arabic funk and fusion jazz of the 1970s and ’80s have garnered a cult following, thanks in part to crate-digging vinyl collectors and DJs who have unearthed many lost gems. A pivotal figure in this scene is Lebanese musician Ziad Rahbani. While often recognized as the son and producer of Fairuz, his own releases are iconic, including the 1979 disco EP Abu Ali and the 1985 album Houdou Nisbi.

This month, one of Rahbani’s rarest works, the 1987 album Amrak Seedna & Abtal Wa Harameyah, has been reissued by the French label Wewantsounds. This physical-only release is significant not only for its high quality but also because it is the first time it has been available outside Lebanon. This album is a must-have for anyone interested in vinyl collecting and the unique joy of discovering musical treasures. Just wait until you hear his take on the James Bond theme.

William Mullally, Arts & Culture Editor

2. Islamic Design: A Timeless Tradition

For enthusiasts of art and architecture, the release of a new book on Islamic design is a noteworthy event. Titled Islamic Design: A Timeless Tradition, this beautifully crafted volume explores the intricate and diverse patterns that characterize Islamic art across different cultures and historical periods.

The book is a visual feast, filled with high-quality photographs and detailed illustrations that showcase the geometric and floral motifs used in everything from architecture and textiles to ceramics and manuscripts. Accompanying the visuals are insightful essays that delve into the history, symbolism, and techniques of Islamic design, making it both an educational resource and a source of inspiration for artists and designers.

What sets this book apart is its comprehensive scope and the quality of its production. The attention to detail in the printing and binding makes it a collector’s item that is as pleasing to hold and browse as it is to read.

Inspired by the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition, Cartier: Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design is a new coffee table book published by Skira Editore. This beautifully crafted volume explores the profound influence of Islamic art on the iconic French luxury brand Cartier.

The book delves into the history, symbolism, and techniques of Islamic design, highlighting how these elements have inspired Cartier’s jewelry and decorative objects. Featuring stunning visuals, essays, and historical context, this book is both an educational resource and a visual delight, making it a perfect addition to any art lover’s collection.

Maan Jalal, Arts and Culture Writer

3. Dune in 4K Ultra HD

Sci-fi fans have a reason to rejoice this month with the 4K Ultra HD release of Dune. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, this adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal novel is a visual and auditory masterpiece, and the 4K release does justice to its grandeur.

The 4K Ultra HD format provides an unparalleled viewing experience, with enhanced resolution, color depth, and dynamic range. This release includes both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, ensuring that the stunning desert landscapes of Arrakis, the detailed costume designs, and the intricate set pieces are rendered with breathtaking clarity and vibrancy.

Additionally, the 4K edition comes with a wealth of special features, including behind-the-scenes documentaries, director’s commentary, and deleted scenes. These extras offer fans a deeper dive into the making of the film, providing insights into the creative processes behind the epic adaptation.

Denis Villeneuve revitalized Frank Herbert’s Dune stories with his critically acclaimed 2021 adaptation and its long-awaited sequel, released earlier this year. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem, these films were shot in diverse locations including Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Italy, and Hungary.

This 4K Ultra HD release combines both films, allowing fans to enjoy the epic tale in one immersive sitting. The enhanced resolution, color depth, and dynamic range of 4K provide a stunning viewing experience that captures the grandeur of the desert planet Arrakis. With unforgettable action scenes and emotional depth, Villeneuve’s Dune is a cinematic masterpiece that demands rewatching.

Faisal Salah, Gaming and Social Writer

Summer is Nearly Here: Top Physical Media Picks for Your Seasonal Break

As summer approaches and many prepare for a well-deserved break at home or abroad, there’s no better time to indulge in some high-quality physical media. Our writers have curated their favorite releases of the month, featuring an array of music, film, and art that will enrich your leisure time.

Three Revolutionary Films by Ousmane Sembène Blu-ray (May 21)

Senegalese filmmaker and author Ousmane Sembène is a master of African cinema. His films, which serve as art, historical documentation, and satire, tackle themes such as colonialism, political corruption, and patriarchal arrogance.

Criterion’s new Blu-ray box set features three of Sembène’s lesser-known films: Emitai, Xala, and Ceddo. Each film has received a 4K digital restoration, making this collection a must-have for cinephiles and those interested in African cinema. The set comes in a beautifully designed digipak, adding an artistic touch to any media collection.

Faisal Salah, Gaming and Social Writer

Kafilah Nights: Malay-Arabic Variations From 1960s Indonesia (May 10)

Kafilah Nights brings together 14 remastered songs by the Malay orchestra Kelana Ria, recorded in the early 1960s. Led by songwriter Adi Karso and Gambus instrumentalist Munif Bahasuan, these recordings became staples of Indonesian pop music, influencing musicians across Southeast Asia.

This reissue captures the spirit of 1960s Indonesia, blending Arabic influences with local sounds. The evocative vocals of Muhamad Mashabi and the diverse musical textures make this album a unique and nostalgic addition to any music lover’s collection.

Razmig Bedirian, Arts and Culture Writer

Stop Making Sense 4K (May 8)

Stop Making Sense, the iconic concert film by Jonathan Demme, captures Talking Heads during four shows at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983. Known for its innovative direction and the captivating performance by frontman David Byrne, the film has become a cult favorite.

This new release by A24 offers both Blu-ray and 4K versions, ensuring fans can experience the concert in the highest quality possible. With mesmerizing dance moves and commanding vocals, this release is a must-have for music and film enthusiasts alike.

Faisal Salah, Gaming and Social Writer

Genesis – Turn It On Again: The Hits (May 3)

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Turn It On Again: The Hits by British pop-rock band Genesis is being reissued by Atlantic Catalogue Group. This compilation album includes some of the band’s most popular songs, such as Land of Confusion and I Can’t Dance, on two clear vinyl records.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, Genesis’s influence on 1980s and ’90s music is undeniable. This reissue provides newcomers a glimpse into the band’s legacy while offering longtime fans a nostalgic journey through their greatest hits.

Faisal Salah, Gaming and Social Writer

May has proven to be a remarkable month for physical media, with releases that appeal to diverse tastes and interests. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the rediscovered sounds of Ziad Rahbani, exploring the timeless beauty of Islamic design, or experiencing the epic scale of Dune in stunning 4K, these releases highlight the enduring value and appeal of physical media in an increasingly digital world.

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